The Last Hero - AB Nation Discussion

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nagpo
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Re: The Last Hero - AB Nation Discussion

Postby nagpo » Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:15 pm

Mr. Slash wrote:
Drumkidstu wrote:It's supposed to be exhausting to listen too.

No, it's not. It's that awful direction these guys are heading to together with Elvis since Fortress and Tremonti 2. I don't need 12 layers of guitars and 4 channels of Myles' squeaky voice at once.

After several months of listening to this album everyday on my way to university, I gotta say that this album has too many "stinkers" imo. I mean, this isn't surprising me, with the first listen i gave to TLH, it stood out for me that the guys tried to arouse a bigger audience. Still I hoped that these songs would grow on me. Sadly I am skipping through many songs. This album misses that "synapse-exploding" element AB gave me on every album so far. Songs like Metalingus, Burn it Down, Brand New Start, Blackbird, Slip To The Void, Isolation, CoA or Bleed it Dry, just to name a few made me go bonkers.
After many listens of TLH I still cannot find pleasure in Myles' new style of singing. Therefore (well, not ONLY therefore) my favorite song of TLH is the bonus track "Last Of Our Kind". That song reminds me much more of the AB I fell in love with.

My post sounds so negative, yet i quite enjoy the album. :facepalm :D

Gotta agree with you on this. I've skipped a few songs as well and I never do that on any of the other records. It's my least favorite AB record though it does have some good songs on it. I like the songs

The other side
My Champion
Cradle to the grave
This side fate
You will be remembered
Crows on a wire
The last hero
Last of our kind
Breathe

But the other songs I dislike either because of their subject matter (political crap) or that they needed a couple more hours of thought honestly. Some of the songs seem a little generic and have weak chorus' - not catchy. And to be honest, I hate to say it, but Myles voice has gotten a bit shrill. Sometimes when he gets to higher notes on the record it can be hard to listen to.

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Re: The Last Hero - AB Nation Discussion

Postby WaywardOne » Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:22 pm

Mr. Slash wrote:
My post sounds so negative, yet i quite enjoy the album. :facepalm :D


Well what do you want, Squidward? A clarinet solo?? :lol

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Re: The Last Hero - AB Nation Discussion

Postby Mr. Slash » Tue Mar 07, 2017 3:01 pm

WaywardOne wrote:
Mr. Slash wrote:
My post sounds so negative, yet i quite enjoy the album. :facepalm :D


Well what do you want, Squidward? A clarinet solo?? :lol

Just imagine Myles would play a clarinet solo. Kinda amazing. :D

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Re: The Last Hero - AB Nation Discussion

Postby One Drew Remains » Wed Mar 08, 2017 6:43 am

With pugs running around everywhere.
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Re: The Last Hero - AB Nation Discussion

Postby MuffinMcFluffin » Wed Mar 08, 2017 9:55 am

Drumkidstu wrote:Often an Artist is a reflection of the world around them. If you look at art throughout the ages, one of the best ways to gauge the culture of the time is to look at the art. What are they portraying. The world we currently live in is a hectic, crazy, and unstable place. Alter Bridge (being true artists as well as musicians) are reflecting the world in their music, hence the hectic sound and unbalanced mixing and feeling of the record. It doesn't honestly bother me that much. It's supposed to be exhausting to listen too. It is supposed to be loud. The imperfections are the perfections. It is the perfect musical interpretation of the world at the moment. Whether they did this intentionally or unintentionally is beyond me, but they did it.

Intent is a big thing for me though, and in my eyes it was not intended. If this was what Alter Bridge wanted, they would have already said this in some form of interview or something. They also wouldn't have released Breathe in its old mix/form. It may fit and it also may help fill a void with why we have a problem with it, but if it wasn't intended then for me it is just a lousy mix. As beautiful as your interpretation sounds, I simply don't like giving credit where it isn't due.

For example, in the film Inception there are objects used to determine whether or not individuals are in a dream without their knowledge (strange if you haven't seen the film). One of these objects is a spinning top, where if in a dream the top doesn't stop spinning. So an interviewer was once trying to theorize why the top was designed the way that it was, saying: “Or maybe it’s a 'meditation on architecture' argument: the top itself is constructed—topologically, it’s a pseudosphere, every point curving away." The director's response to this was: “The prop guys just made a top that would spin for a long time.”

I think they just think it sounds good. We can likely agree to disagree here.

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Re: The Last Hero - AB Nation Discussion

Postby Drumkidstu » Thu Mar 09, 2017 2:40 am

MuffinMcFluffin wrote:
Drumkidstu wrote:Often an Artist is a reflection of the world around them. If you look at art throughout the ages, one of the best ways to gauge the culture of the time is to look at the art. What are they portraying. The world we currently live in is a hectic, crazy, and unstable place. Alter Bridge (being true artists as well as musicians) are reflecting the world in their music, hence the hectic sound and unbalanced mixing and feeling of the record. It doesn't honestly bother me that much. It's supposed to be exhausting to listen too. It is supposed to be loud. The imperfections are the perfections. It is the perfect musical interpretation of the world at the moment. Whether they did this intentionally or unintentionally is beyond me, but they did it.

Intent is a big thing for me though, and in my eyes it was not intended. If this was what Alter Bridge wanted, they would have already said this in some form of interview or something. They also wouldn't have released Breathe in its old mix/form. It may fit and it also may help fill a void with why we have a problem with it, but if it wasn't intended then for me it is just a lousy mix. As beautiful as your interpretation sounds, I simply don't like giving credit where it isn't due.

For example, in the film Inception there are objects used to determine whether or not individuals are in a dream without their knowledge (strange if you haven't seen the film). One of these objects is a spinning top, where if in a dream the top doesn't stop spinning. So an interviewer was once trying to theorize why the top was designed the way that it was, saying: “Or maybe it’s a 'meditation on architecture' argument: the top itself is constructed—topologically, it’s a pseudosphere, every point curving away." The director's response to this was: “The prop guys just made a top that would spin for a long time.”

I think they just think it sounds good. We can likely agree to disagree here.

While I see and understand your logic, being a musician and artist myself, I both agree and disagree. When playing music you often intend to do a whole lot of things. I might intend to play this fill or I might want to play this chord. It won't stop outside influences from finding their way into the music no matter how hard you may not want them in. Plus I think the significant loudness in the music, perfectly symbolizes the brashness and stupidity of our election process. To me and in the big picture, music isn't all about mix, or microphones, or how the sound moves. In reality it is about emotion and the heart. This is truly where music comes from.

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Re: The Last Hero - AB Nation Discussion

Postby Drumkidstu » Thu Mar 09, 2017 2:55 am

nagpo wrote:
Mr. Slash wrote:
Drumkidstu wrote:It's supposed to be exhausting to listen too.

No, it's not. It's that awful direction these guys are heading to together with Elvis since Fortress and Tremonti 2. I don't need 12 layers of guitars and 4 channels of Myles' squeaky voice at once.

After several months of listening to this album everyday on my way to university, I gotta say that this album has too many "stinkers" imo. I mean, this isn't surprising me, with the first listen i gave to TLH, it stood out for me that the guys tried to arouse a bigger audience. Still I hoped that these songs would grow on me. Sadly I am skipping through many songs. This album misses that "synapse-exploding" element AB gave me on every album so far. Songs like Metalingus, Burn it Down, Brand New Start, Blackbird, Slip To The Void, Isolation, CoA or Bleed it Dry, just to name a few made me go bonkers.
After many listens of TLH I still cannot find pleasure in Myles' new style of singing. Therefore (well, not ONLY therefore) my favorite song of TLH is the bonus track "Last Of Our Kind". That song reminds me much more of the AB I fell in love with.

My post sounds so negative, yet i quite enjoy the album. :facepalm :D

Gotta agree with you on this. I've skipped a few songs as well and I never do that on any of the other records. It's my least favorite AB record though it does have some good songs on it. I like the songs

The other side
My Champion
Cradle to the grave
This side fate
You will be remembered
Crows on a wire
The last hero
Last of our kind
Breathe

But the other songs I dislike either because of their subject matter (political crap) or that they needed a couple more hours of thought honestly. Some of the songs seem a little generic and have weak chorus' - not catchy. And to be honest, I hate to say it, but Myles voice has gotten a bit shrill. Sometimes when he gets to higher notes on the record it can be hard to listen to.

Y'all are stuck in the past. The fact of the matter is that artists change. I am glad they changed their sound after AB3. We had 3 albums of good straight forward hard rock. Now we have 2 albums of excellent melodic progressive thrash. If you want an example of a band that has stayed the same throughout their entire career, go listen to Breaking Benjamin. There first couple records were excellent; however, literally everything they have ever put out all sounds the same! Do I like every song on TLH? no. My champion, Poison in Your Veins, Losing Patience, and You will be Remembered, to me were all excellent songs, but not my personal favs. I personally enjoy when they stretch out and try different things. I have learned to enjoy everything that this band puts out because I realize that they are the most talented musicians on the rock scene at the moment. The political commentary was justifiable and excellently done. Our politics in this great country are out of control and a fricken joke and it is about time we as citizens start realizing that and do something to change it.

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Re: The Last Hero - AB Nation Discussion

Postby Jaded Rescue » Fri Mar 10, 2017 11:41 am

Drumkidstu wrote:
MuffinMcFluffin wrote:
Drumkidstu wrote:Often an Artist is a reflection of the world around them. If you look at art throughout the ages, one of the best ways to gauge the culture of the time is to look at the art. What are they portraying. The world we currently live in is a hectic, crazy, and unstable place. Alter Bridge (being true artists as well as musicians) are reflecting the world in their music, hence the hectic sound and unbalanced mixing and feeling of the record. It doesn't honestly bother me that much. It's supposed to be exhausting to listen too. It is supposed to be loud. The imperfections are the perfections. It is the perfect musical interpretation of the world at the moment. Whether they did this intentionally or unintentionally is beyond me, but they did it.

Intent is a big thing for me though, and in my eyes it was not intended. If this was what Alter Bridge wanted, they would have already said this in some form of interview or something. They also wouldn't have released Breathe in its old mix/form. It may fit and it also may help fill a void with why we have a problem with it, but if it wasn't intended then for me it is just a lousy mix. As beautiful as your interpretation sounds, I simply don't like giving credit where it isn't due.

For example, in the film Inception there are objects used to determine whether or not individuals are in a dream without their knowledge (strange if you haven't seen the film). One of these objects is a spinning top, where if in a dream the top doesn't stop spinning. So an interviewer was once trying to theorize why the top was designed the way that it was, saying: “Or maybe it’s a 'meditation on architecture' argument: the top itself is constructed—topologically, it’s a pseudosphere, every point curving away." The director's response to this was: “The prop guys just made a top that would spin for a long time.”

I think they just think it sounds good. We can likely agree to disagree here.

While I see and understand your logic, being a musician and artist myself, I both agree and disagree. When playing music you often intend to do a whole lot of things. I might intend to play this fill or I might want to play this chord. It won't stop outside influences from finding their way into the music no matter how hard you may not want them in. Plus I think the significant loudness in the music, perfectly symbolizes the brashness and stupidity of our election process. To me and in the big picture, music isn't all about mix, or microphones, or how the sound moves. In reality it is about emotion and the heart. This is truly where music comes from.


Musicians can write music to represent the world being hectic, brash, or stupid without mixing it like absolute garbage. This album mix has nothing to do with artistic intent or influence and a whole lot more to do with Elvis succumbing to the loudness wars. We're not saying the guys need to change their guitar tones to be lighter, or that it's too heavy, technical, or sporadic from a musical standpoint. The problem we're arguing against (or I am, at least) is that this album literally hurts to listen to all the way through. My ears are in legitimate pain after 4-5 songs. Plenty of other albums in the past have been able to represent a hectic, crazy time without being mixed this badly.

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Re: The Last Hero - AB Nation Discussion

Postby Micky » Fri Mar 10, 2017 8:44 pm

I still don't know how I feel about TLH.
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Thanks Andy!

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Re: The Last Hero - AB Nation Discussion

Postby One Drew Remains » Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:19 am

I never got around to a review. I may post a six months after review in April.
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Re: The Last Hero - AB Nation Discussion

Postby WaywardOne » Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:04 pm

Interesting that the "story behind" video for Crows is just coming out now. Anyone remember which songs they have and haven't put videos out for? I remember when they did this for Fortress they left a few songs out for some reason too.

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Re: The Last Hero - AB Nation Discussion

Postby Andy92 » Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:06 pm

WaywardOne wrote:Interesting that the "story behind" video for Crows is just coming out now.

Just wanted to say...
Andy92 wrote:I think Crows On A Wire is referring to how the media creates and destroys people. "Baiting to consume and devour the glory and power they gave to you." The same people the media give power to through nonstop coverage will eventually be crushed when the secrets of their past are unveiled. You see that going on with not just presidential candidates, but lots of other celebrities. They'll praise you until they find your flaws, then they'll "consume and devour."

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=2970&p=184448#p184448

Nailed it.
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Re: The Last Hero - AB Nation Discussion

Postby prslover » Mon Apr 10, 2017 8:42 pm

The mix on this record renders it unlistenable. So disappointed. Did nobody in the band listen to it in their car? Not only do you need to adjust the volume when starting the track but also during the track you have to adjust. It becomes more apparent when I have my entire collection on shuffle and a song from TLH comes on and it's insulting to the ears. The tunes are solid AB (5th out of all albums) but wtf with the loudness. TLH is pretty much forgotten.

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Re: The Last Hero - AB Nation Discussion

Postby ElliotYork » Mon Apr 17, 2017 8:17 am

sam1oq wrote:A bit late, but here's my review of the album:

I have extremely mixed feelings about TLH. On one side it's horribly produced (and needs a remaster), the side project influences aren't integrated well, too many lyrical tropes (hello "deny") and at times it feels like they're just rehashing older albums, but on The Other Side (pun intended) it's got some of the best songs they've ever written, increasingly progressive songwriting and some very solid tunes to back it up with. Before I jump to any further conclusions I'll do a track by track review:

1. Show Me a Leader
This song is basically dedicated to Donald Trump as far as I can tell. Not sure whether that's a good thing. The intro to this one is one of the best things on the album. Progressive influences shine here, which is a good thing. Unfortunately the rest of the song doesn't quite match this intro. Even though it has grown massively on me and I enjoy it now as a great high energy track, it still doesn't fit the epicness of the beginning. The guitar solo is amazing though. The track is great, but I feel it could have been one of their best had the intro's quality remained throughout the rest of the song.

2. The Writing on the Wall
This is pretty much AB by the numbers as it follows a typical AB structure. The lyrics leave to be desired in a lot of cases with Myles falling into his lyrical tropes of "deny" and "You're to blame". It has a dynamics going for it so that saves it.

3. The Otter Slide
(Again, pun intended). I love this song. This is without a doubt Myles' best vocal performance on the album. The bridge is orgasmic, lol. Also those riffs are HEAVY. I lost my shit when I first heard the track when it leaked. From the moment the a cappella opening started I knew I was up for something special, and damn it was. Definitely one of my favourite tracks on the album.

4. My Champignon
I didn't think much about this song when it came out and still don't. A nice rock beat and melodies and a great guitar solo as always but it feels a bit forced. They just HAD to write that uplifting song. I can enjoy it when I'm in the mood though. It's not bad, but I feel AB should be beyond songs like this musically.

5. Poisson in Your Veins
Poisson is French for fish, so now imagine a fish swimming through your veins. I really dislike this. It was written solely for being played live. The chorus sucks balls with the Slash influences. His sound just doesn't match with AB. Ugh. Verses and solo are pretty good though. The lyrics also don't really appeal to me.

6. Cradle to the Grave
This is where the album gets really good. Tied with The Other Side, this track sits very high with me. Love the personal verses and Myles' singing. Heart touching. The chorus is amazing and it's a shame the guitars got buried in the mix. They provide amazing atmosphere here. Bridge is super awesome aside from "There's no way to deny" and the abrupt transition back to the chorus. This is the type of stuff they should be putting out more often. I already said it with Fortress and SttV, longer/dynamic tracks are where this band shines. Every step in the direction of prog metal is a good step.

7. Losing Patience
This track starts out nicely but it quickly becomes apparent that it should actually be a B-side. I love the main riff and the verses but the rest just isn't up to par with the rest of the album. I'm really annoyed by all the arena rock choruses on TLH and this song is the main abuser, followed by Poison. The song ends on a strong note though, the final "While your life is still worth saving." is spine chilling.

8. This Side of Fate
The first of the two epics. Where to start? The quite first chorus presented as a verse going into the actual chorus is a very clever trick that works very well. The transition into the second verse is also great with a crying guitar from Mark (?). Then the BRIDGE, wow! Building up the tension first over sincere Myles singing into full intensity back to sincerity and suddenly going in full force to one of the best ever build ups to a guitar solo which is executed amazingly. Couldn't believe it was Myles at first. Dang that guy is GOOD. Then back to the chorus we have another surprise: it's sung an octave lower and it works. Mark's solo to finish it off, but it ends not really strong IMO, making it just not perfect.

9. You Will Be Remembered
This song has more cheese than my girlfriend from Gouda. Definitely not a fan of this one. Maybe I'm a heartless bastard, but I just don't feel much for this. It feels like they needed to write a ballad like this. AB can do better than country anthems right?

10. Crows on a Wire
A bit AB by the numbers and another arena rock chorus (though it's presented acceptable here), but this time it works very well. The metal influences seem to work well on AB and this song to no exception. Great headbanger. Bridge/solo is again very strong. Not much to say about it for the rest.

11. Twilight
An AB III homage. Strange song that seems to work well but on the other hand is just average. I wish it was longer and didn't end so abruptly. I wish Tremonti would sing here. Seems like a song he'd do well in for some reason. The chorus is weird: "TWILAIIIIGGHHT" is just weird, but the dynamics work well. Bridge is too short. This one could have been much better imo.

12. Island of Fools
I think this is the best song on the album without any significant progressive influences. A straightforward headbanger that just madafakin SLAYS. Heavy as fuck, super catchy/epic chorus and killer solos. Rhythm section is at the top of their game here. I was so disappointed not to see this live in Amsterdam.

13. The Last Hero
This is the best thing they ever did, period. Beats Blackbird, Words, Fortress, CoA, etc. clean. This is just a perfect metal song. Sits comfortably alongside mammoths such as Hallowed Be Thy Name or Master of Puppets. The immediate vocal intro is cool, then gets heavy as fuck, goes into amazing verses and into the chorus which is epic and catchy at the same time. The lyrics are also very strong here all around. The bridge is of course amazing, and that's an understatement. The breakdown is crazy, a perfect solo build up which is again Myles, an epic chugging breakdown section and back to the beginning of the song. Chorus again and an epic solo, from Mark this time. I thought that'd be the end of it, but it goes again into epic chugging and ends amazingly. I'm a total sucker for this song holy shit. Only wished to hear more from Mark's vocals.

14. Symphony of Agony (bonus song)
This one should have replaced Losing Patience. I understand why it's a B-side but that feels unjust when there are worse songs on the record. The tone of the solo is amazing and I can see why it was Mark's favourite solo on the record. Rest of the song is decent.

__________

Overall I find TLH a record that is extremely hard to place. The right signs are there, but it feels rushed and at times the solo projects take over the band (which is bad). I hope AB will do less side projects before AB VI and spend more time together touring and writing songs. Both Mark and Myles seem to have so many cool ideas at the moment that they all seem to go to waste on small sections of songs (riff from Losing Patience or intro SMaL eg, not even talking about the Tremonti songs). They should take the time and let it all sink in to write something really epic. Maybe churn out an EP with two or three long songs in the meantime.

Hey, super late reply, I know, but I only hopped back onto TABN the other day and have been perusing old discussions to gauge what the general reception to TLH was.

Your review matches up very well with mine, although I will say overall that I feel less harshly toward the album. I consider it to be in their top 2 or 3 efforts due to the good things you mentioned (the more progressive moments, the heavier and darker moments, etc), but I also think it's held back from the Fortress level due to the same bad things you mentioned (poor production, cheesy lyrics in some cases, songs that don't hold the standard of the rest of the album). I disagree about the criticism of outside influences negatively impacting TLH though: the only song where I feel this applies is Poison In Your Veins, where (like you pointed out) the chorus feels far too Slash-like.

This Side of Fate and The Last Hero are both AMAZING tracks though, and are definitely in my top 5 all-time AB songs. I had TSoF a step above TLH for a long time, but I'm less sure of that now. As you said, TLH finishes stronger, and is more consistent throughout, but damn that whole mid-section of TSoF is perfect. I also agree that Island of Fools is the best non-progressive song on the album. It may actually be the best kick-ass/balls-to-the-wall type heavy song they have ever done, because it truly is great. And I agree that Cradle to the Grave is another standout, and The Other Side was a pleasantly surprising song.

I do rate The Writing on the Wall higher than you seem to though. It isn't amazing, but it's a damn good high-energy track, and that way the rhythm guitar locks in with the bass and bass drum during the verses is infectious. I also understand both your criticism of and support for Twilight. When I first heard it I considered it to be the weakest track on the album, but it has definitely grown on me over time. It's far from the strongest, and it does feel "weird" as you said - but I have grown fond of it and think it deserves to be on the album.

Last of Our Kind also deserved to be on the album, and in all honesty I think it should have taken the place of either Poison In Your Veins or Losing Patience. That first half of the album really suffers from having too many weaker, overly-catchy songs, and I think by taking one (or both) of them out and putting Last of Our Kind in its place the whole album would benefit. I also feel that You Will Be Remembered doesn't work as the band probably hoped it would, but that it COULD work better if it was stripped back more. It just feels unnecessarily crowded, and with less layering of guitars and vocals, and just being less LOUD overall, it may have translated better.

Like you said, the further AB step in the direction of progressive the more they shine in my opinion. It seems to be the logical evolution for the band, and the songs that demonstrate that on this album are the strongest ones on offer. The ones that resist that progression are almost invariably the weakest. I'd really love to hear a remixed version of this album: less vocal layering, less overall "loudness" and compression, with Last of Our Kind replacing Poison In Your Veins and/or Losing Patience, and You Will Be Remembered being stripped back to a more acoustic feel. I feel that those are all small changes, but cumulatively could add up to the album approaching that Fortress level.

Also, a sidenote: that "crying guitar" bit you mentioned after the first verse in TSoF is almost certainly Myles. Listen to the tone and it matches up very closely with the tone of his solo on the song, but not with Mark's. For further indication, listen to Myles' solos in MF4 songs such as Overflow or Reigns Over Me. I could be wrong, but I'm 98% sure that guitar part is Myles.


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